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Residents near Speedway still uneasy about changes

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GREENFIELD — Neighbors of a north side gas station/convenience store are still concerned it will one day become a truck stop, despite approval Tuesday from a local board on curb and street improvements for the site.

The Greenfield Board of Works unanimously approved a proposal from Speedway to make changes to public roads around 110 Opportunity Parkway to accommodate more trucks for new diesel pumps.

Plans call for the station, at the entrance of Progress Park near Interstate 70 and Ind. 9, to have three new diesel pumps that would be able to service two trucks at a time.

Up for approval Tuesday was a cut in the boulevard at Opportunity Parkway, new landscaping and changes to curbs to accommodate trucks driving in and out of the station. Mayor Chuck Fewell said approval made sense, because large vehicles are already damaging the current boulevard.

Speedway would pay for the entire $17,500 of improvements.

“We don’t want it to be destroyed. We have an opportunity to repair it and make it attractive,” Fewell said.

Fewell said he, too, doesn’t want the facility to become a truck stop, but the matter before the board was simply on infrastructure improvements. Any appeals to the city’s approval of diesel pumps would have to go before the Greenfield Board of Zoning Appeals.

Speedway company officials have emphasized several times that they don’t plan to build a truck stop at the site. In fact, on Friday, the company filed a formal agreement with the city promising that Speedway would never designate the area as a “truck stop” with showers, lockers, a full-service restaurant or parking lot for semi-trailer trucks.

The matter first came before the board of works last month. Member Dan Reigelsperger voiced concern that Speedway would eventually buy land nearby for a parking lot or expanded facilities and the corner could become a truck stop. Neighbors of the nearby Cranberry Estates have also raised red flags, saying traffic is already congested at the intersection, and more trucks would just make matters worse.

Reigelsperger was not at Tuesday’s meeting, and neighbors said afterward that they were disappointed in the board’s decision to approve the curb cuts.

“They passed the buck,” said Larry Kindig. “We’re 100 percent against it, and we don’t know how to stop this.”

Kindig was among four or five Cranberry Estates neighbors at the meeting. While traffic congestion is their No. 1 concern, Linda Hansinger said she also worries about the noise and lights added development would bring to the site.

But Cranberry Estates residents don’t live in city limits, so Kindig said it seems as though they have no voice. But he’s hopeful representatives from Elanco will continue their fight.

Elanco’s headquarters is located in Progress Park, and there were a couple of attorneys representing the company at Tuesday’s meeting. While they didn’t speak to the board, city zoning administrator Joanie Fitzwater said she spoke with them afterward. The company is also concerned about traffic congestion, she said.

Fitzwater said Elanco may appeal her decision to allow diesel pumps to be installed at the site. That appeal would go before the BZA, Fitzwater said; a representative for Elanco could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Fitzwater approved Speedway’s permit for diesel pumps because it did not affect the architecture, parking, landscaping and sign regulations of the area. Still, she said her decision could be appealed, which would bring the issue back open for discussion.

Meanwhile, Fitzwater pointed out that Speedway has ensured the city several times that it does not plan to locate a truck stop at the site.

“So far they seem to be very cooperative just trying to go about their business,” Fitzwater said.

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